Nick at the CRUK summer reception
Nick at the CRUK summer reception

Nick Smith MP is backing a life-saving appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS cancer staff.

The Blaenau Gwent MP is backing the charity’s new “Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer” campaign and adding his voice to the calls for the cancer workforce to receive proper funding as part of the new NHS funding settlement.

Cancer survival rates are still lagging behind the best in Europe and many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

More staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.

Nick has added his signature to a letter set to be presented to the Prime Minister on the 70th anniversary of the NHS calling for more funding for diagnostic and treatment staff.

Nick, who led the debate on the NHS’s anniversary and public health in Parliament last month, said celebrating the NHS’s fantastic work should also involve tackling the new challenges it faces.

“Every year, 19,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales. With this number set to rise, it’s vital that we have an NHS which is fit to deliver world-class care for all cancer patients now and in the future,” he said.

“That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer, so that everyone has the best possible chance of surviving this devastating disease.”

To speed up and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists who carry out and interpret scans such as MRIs, endoscopists who look inside the body by inserting a tiny camera and pathologists who look for abnormal cells, as well as oncologists (cancer specialists), nurses and surgeons.

Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re grateful to Nick Smith MP for his support. It’s up to all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against the disease.

“Without increased investment in NHS staff, we could see the death toll from cancer rising. But by acting right nowand investing in the early diagnostic workforce, we could help prevent a crisis in the future and save many more lives.

“Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer. It’s our ambition for this to be 3 in 4 by 2034. That’s why we hope MPs, patients and the public get behind this vitally important campaign to help make our cancer services among the best in the world.”

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